We’ll start with the regular third person bio format. Lots more below if you’re really interested!
Lindel formerly served as Managing Director for UTIMCO (2002-2015) where he was responsible for overseeing the private investment program. The private investment portfolio represented more than $4 billion of assets spread across multiple mandates including venture, growth, buyout and credit investments in developed and emerging markets. Lindel joined UTIMCO upon receiving his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Lindel previously worked for KPMG, LLP and Stephens, Inc.
He attended Texas Christian University for his undergraduate studies in accounting and finance. Lindel is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas and a CFA charter holder. Lindel previously served as vice-Chairman of the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA), the global trade association representing more than 300 limited partner organizations investing in private equity. Lindel resides in Austin, Texas with his amazing wife and two awesome daughters.
For way more than you ever wanted to know about me read:
The Background Story –
I’ve repeated this story many times for friends and partners but I think worth writing down here. Hopefully it tells you a little bit more about me so that you have a sense for the lens that I’ve developed over time and where some of my reactions might be coming from in my past. That said, I hope we’re all trying to constantly grow our consciousness and be a better version of ourselves. Please use this to help me continue in that endeavor!
The early part
I grew up in Northeast Tarrant County, in a relatively blue-collar and somewhat rural existence in a suburb called North Richland Hills outside of Fort Worth, Texas. We had nearly eight acres and everyone around us had a small piece of acreage that contributed to a rural feel. We had a few animals, a pair of barns that were mostly workshops for my father’s toys and yes, we would ride a tractor or 4-wheelers down the road to see our friends. No, we didn’t ride a horse to school as the stereotype goes. Dad was a successful criminal defense attorney, mom a homemaker that had taught school prior to my arrival. One little brother, 5 years younger. I was lucky to have a Mom and Dad with small town Texas values, that relayed an expectation of hard work and earning my keep just as soon as I approached puberty. My grandfather, Ted Ellison, was also influential in helping me appreciate the value of labor. Particularly when he would have me help clean out and clean up old rental houses in the hot Texas summer. It was a great way to focus me on school work!
I started school at an upstart, private school (Oakridge) for most of my primary years & transferred to large public schools for my formative junior high and high school years (Go Richland Rebels). I was a big kid that grew early but was generally a run of the mill (at-best) athlete quitting organized sports my sophomore year. I know that my early size was helpful in building self-confidence and team sports were a key component of my social graph. I still miss that feeling of unity, the sense of playing hard for one another. I always say that I would be a junior high football coach if I were to have another career. Coaches certainly have the opportunity to provide such great influence as they intersect with young men at a point in time where growth and social norms are being established. Yes, I did certainly feel the wrath of the coach’s big wooden paddle but I can say that it was good for me!
Dad passed away relatively abruptly after a short battle with cancer before my Junior year of high school. I think this was a big part of me becoming very independent, in part out of necessity, as my Mother and Brother struggled through that tough time. Unfortunately, I ran a bit wild with that independence and I’m certainly glad camera phones didn’t exist back then! With the benefit of time, I’m comfortable saying that I was lucky to have my Dad for so long as I did but I still miss him every day. I’m also sure that his passing led me to take a more conservative route and try to grow up quickly with less career risk. With his passing, I at least began to realize that you don’t control life but you do control how you respond to it.
While life had thrown me for a bit of a loop in high school, I did manage to keep up my grades and was quite involved at school while also holding down a job waiting tables. My wonderful wife remains appalled that she married the student body president and member of the Johnny Reb’s spirit squad. I was definitely not her style, and she would certainly have ignored me back then! Happily we all grow up but I still threaten to bring out the gavel at family meetings. 🙂
I had good grades and worked hard applying to mostly regional schools for college. I managed to get a partial academic scholarship to all 4 and chose TCU over USC, SMU, and Texas A&M. One school I almost picked over these was CU Boulder, funny how life takes you back. TCU was the closest to where I grew up, yet a world away in West Fort Worth. I did join a fraternity, Sigma Chi, which was actually useful in helping me find some lifelong friends but after my freshman year I was more focused on working my way through school and keeping up my grades for the scholarship. I was a double major at the business school in finance & accounting. The latter because my Mom wanted me to “have a certificate that said I could do something”. And I still maintain my CPA each year because of her! I had started working almost full-time at Outback Steakhouse when it was a fledgling chain beginning my junior year of high school through my senior year of college. This was a great experience that kept me grounded while at a private school. It also provided spending money, taught me how to approach and speak with strangers, and kept me busy! Staying busy I’ve found increases overall productivity for me. Funny that.
First real job. KPMG. 1997-2001. A great place to start
I was actually recruited out of TCU as an audit department hire by one of my now good friends and a mentor, John Cochran. However, we never worked together as I quickly joined the Tax Dept by calling and asking if they needed a Spring Intern. I figured that I had been waiting tables for 5 years and surely this office job would be better! I then convinced Don Mason the tax group lead to take me on full-time even though I had only two tax classes at TCU. It was a great move and I loved the tax crew at KPMG. Don was a scary smart mentor who led the M&A group for the Southwest. We had a large practice focused on financial institutions primarily surrounding the Bass Family and the many GP spin-offs, including TPG. We worked very hard and had interesting work. This was my first window into PE/VC writ large. Reconciling the returns and seeing the gains possible in those heady, late 90s years (As an aside, I was making more money trading DELL 3-year leap options than I was sitting at the desk, day-trading seemed easy!). I was advancing quickly at KPMG but it was becoming more obvious that I didn’t want to be a tax accountant when I grew up. I also completed the CFA charterholder requirements in those years to give myself another certificate and perhaps an option to move back towards finance. At that point in life, I was single, working hard in a good career track but I knew that I needed to figure out what was next. I looked at living abroad with KPMG which would have scratched a personal interest but my lack of advanced degree held me back. That’s when I decided to…
Go to Austin for my MBA at McCombs.
I remember thinking that it should give me an option reset and let me pick another path outside accounting. My thoughts then were pretty focused on private equity as I had performed due diligence on numerous transactions and met many of the GP side analysts and associates through those processes. My timing probably couldn’t have been worse but my optimism was high heading back to school. Back then (2000-01), the school was ranked pretty highly and I was pleased to get accepted at McCombs. I decided to take most of the summer preceding school in Costa Rica. The idea was to learn Spanish. In actuality, it was more fun that was had than studying on that long break and I came back to live in Austin having shaken off some of the myopic accounting perspective.
I was quite active at UT, participating in the MBA Investment Fund and making a lot of friends that first year. Even though I really loved Little Rock and Stephens that Summer of 2002, one investment banking internship was enough to convince me I never wanted that role for a career. I came back to school unsure of my plan, recognizing that the economy had fallen further after the towers fell and job prospects in a traditional sense were dim. Despite that, I turned down a job offer as an investment banker in Dallas and had a loose plan to take some savings and go back to South America. This time to truly learn Spanish and figure out a career plan. Not surprisingly, Mom wasn’t excited about that idea.
Then I backed into a job at UTIMCO –
In October of 2002, one of my good friends and later roommate, Darren Myers, got an internship at UTIMCO with Cathy Iberg on the formative hedge fund team/program. I heard about this and suggested they might need a second intern while providing a resume. Luckily, Cathy eventually called me about it. She must have been feeling good that day as she agreed to take me on. I’m really glad she did. As it happens, Cathy and I have become good friends and she is one of my favorites from UTIMCO.
Well, Cathy hired Darren and I to fend off the hedge fund capital introduction army that was calling her. They saw a new program and were circling! Our job was to answer the phone, listen for a while, and politely say “no”. Darren and I sat together in a single cubicle workstation and would have too much fun together for our first few months at UTIMCO. Given backgrounds, it was clear that Darren would have pole position for a full-time role at UTIMCO and I still had my plan to go to LatAm intact.
Then, one day in the Spring of 2003, Trey Thompson asked me to go have lunch with him. Now, I’m always up for bbq but was plain surprised when he offered me the chance to stay at UTIMCO in the private equity group with he and Sara McMahon. I didn’t even see it coming. Green Mesquite on Barton Springs never tasted so good. Not only had I landed a job in a dim economy, I found one in Austin focused on private equity! I was lucky indeed. UTIMCO was a great fit for me and we were able to do some great things in the portfolio there. Sometimes luck and life put you in the right position. I’m very thankful for the run I had at UTIMCO.
And that my friends, is how I ended up at UTIMCO. More on the 13 years at UTIMCO and what is next in a separate post. I hope this history gives you a sense for where I’m coming from and all the many ways I have to grow!